Deborah’s murder: Justice must be served
SIR: I condemn in the strongest terms the killing of a year -two female student by name Deborah Samuel, of the Shehu Shagari College of Education for alleged blasphemy against Prophet Muhammed. Whether we admit it or not , the truth is that religion remains one of the biggest setbacks of African countries or else how can one explain why in this twenty first century a group of students under the guise of religion can engage themselves in the act of barbarism by lynching and setting ablaze one of their own . The savages did not stop there; with effrontery and impunity, they filmed and posted their crime online.
It is sad that many Nigerians especially the youths have not bothered to know that one of the pillars of the negotiation of a one Nigeria by our founding fathers is that Nigeria shall be a secular state as embedded in section 10 of the Nigerian Constitution.
I have read the post of many Nigerians from the North, both high and low, educated and illiterate who out of ignorance of the laws of the land commended the killers of Deborah for a job well done. Even though it is trite that ignorance of the law is not an excuse, I want to blame the ignorance of the vast number of northerners on our politicians and leaders who have failed to harness the potentials of the diversity of this great country because of their selfish interest.
For the benefit of doubt, I want to state categorically here that blasphemy is not an offence in Nigeria. The provisions of Sections 244 (1), 262 (1)(2)(a)(b)(c)(d) and (e), 272(1)(2) and 277 (1)(2)(a)(b)(c)(d)and (e) of the Nigerian Constitution limits the Sharia law only to the determination of question of Islamic personal law , excluding criminal law which is being taken care of by the penal code in the North.
In view of the above, I submit that the killing of Deborah for alleged blasphemy is nothing short of a cold blooded premeditated murder which is illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional and consequently the perpetrators of this dastard act must be brought to book and justice must be served .
It is not enough for the school to be shut down indefinitely by the authorities and students asked to vacate the campus. It is not enough for the Sokoto Sultanate Council to apologise to the Nigerian public. It is not enough that the suspects are arrested, arraigned and prosecuted. What will be enough is for justice to be served. Oh yes let the culprits have their day in court.
The violent death of Deborah is a litmus test of whether we the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; have truly, firmly and solemnly resolved to live in unity and harmony as one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign nation under God. It is essential that justice is served in this matter to serve as deterrent to others who will in the future want to take the lives of others unlawfully under the guise of religion. Justice must be served to help reassure the minorities and non Moslem communities in the North that they are safe and protected by the government.
We are watching.
• Chief Malcolm Emokiniovo Omirhobo.